Marvel Disney Conference Call

The Outhouse brings you coverage of the Marvel Disney conference call, discussing the purchase of Marvel Entertainment by the Walt Disney Company.

At 10:15AM EST, Disney held a conference call to address the purchase
of Marvel Entertainment to their stockholders. The call began with
Disney CEO Mark Iger praising Marvels success at expanding their brand
into movies, specifically praising Spider-Man, X-Men, and especially
Iron Man, which was little-known as a brand before the movie. Disney
hopes to help Marvel continue to do this with other properties,
"unlocking their treasure trove of characters."

Disney discussed the particulars of the deal, which is a cash and stock
deal to be completed at the end of the fiscal year. Disney issued 58
million shares of stock to Marvel shareholders as part of the deal, but
will be attempting to repurchase these shares in order to counter the
impact of diluting their stock.

Marvel Chairman Morton Handel said that Marvel already modeled its
brand building efforts on Disney, and praised Disney as the leader in
this area.

After the niceties were completed, questions and answers began. Disney
said that the deal was not based on financial accounting or stock
value, but rather on the long-term synergy that will be created between
the two companies. Though the DVD market itself is slowing, movies with
strong, recognizable characters like Marvels stand to fare better than
others in the future.

In response to a question about video games and international
opportunities, Disney pointed to the current animation deal with Marvel
for Disney XD, and talked about expanding those goals. Disney currently
runs 20 hours of Marvel programming per week, and this is a big part of
their strategy towards expanding overseas.

The question on everyone’s minds was asked as well: how will this deal
affect Marvel’s current deals with other studios? Disney praised the
existing deals, and stated that they would generally remain in effect.
When asked specifically about Marvel’s deal with Paramount, Disney said
that, in the long term, it will be more cost-effective to get out of
these deals. Disney did not give a timeline, but expressed a desire to eventually become the sole distributor of Marvel properties.

Another hot topic of conversation is the possible collaboration between
Disney and Pixar, which was addressed next. Apparently, Marvel executives were salivating over this possibilty, and Disney had to tell
them to calm down. Co-branding is not likely, but the talents from both
brands will definitely collaborate, creating many interesting
possibilities. An awful Spider-Man/Bug’s Life joke was made. Disney can
offer Marvel a direct relationship in many markets that Marvel
currently lacks.

In discussing how the deal came about, Disney revealed that they had
been admiring Marvel for some time, and first reached out a few months
ago. Disney has no plans to overhaul Marvel, and promises to leave the
creative team in place. Disney compared Marvel’s character brand to
Disney’s, and expressed a desire to place a broader spotlight on
Marvel’s brand, as opposed to incorporating it into their own. Disney
intends to keep Marvel’s offices in New York. Of course, these promises
are made by many companies upon acquiring another, so it will be
interesting to see if Disney keeps its word not to interfere with or
restructure Marvel.

Comparisons were made between Disney’s children’s book publishing
business and Marvel’s comic book publishing. The company hopes to use
be able to use both areas to build Disney and Marvel properties in the
others. The deal creates many opportunities in publishing.

Finally, Disney discussed the premium price paid for Marvel. The deal
was not one that either company was forced to make due to financial
difficulties. It was done because of the value of Marvel Entertainment,
the similarities between their brands, and the opportunities for
synergy created by both companies’ strengths.
Syndicated from The Outhouse – Comic Community Run By Fanboys, For Fanboys
Posted originally: 2009-08-31 12:04:43

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